At the beginning of the year I found myself in a bit of a dark place creatively. I was feeling overwhelmed in a situation that I had created entirely on my own. People come to me to create a certain style of image and that's what they want and pay me to do. I'm happy with it, I love it, and it's a job satisfaction that I can't explain.
However, I had taken on so much that I wasn't doing anything for myself. At all. I was stifling my own creativity and muting all the reasons that I took up a camera in the first place. The first thing I did to counteract this was pick up a book. Books have always been a safe, quiet place for me, from the time I was an awkard, introverted kid until now as an awkward, introverted adult. One of my all time favorite photography books is Photography Q&A by Zack Arias. I love this book for a variety of reasons; it's varied in it's content, he talks technical and personal, he explains things in contexts that I can interpret, and it's just really written like you're sitting down with a guy and asking him questions.
I followed up my reading by hitting up his site DEDPXL. I hadn't been there in a while, no real reason, just hadn't taken the time to check it out. What I found was someone that was also struggling in their work but had made the conscious decision to pick up a camera and MAKE.
I'd also been following the work of a friend of mine, Anne Simone, and this ridiculously inspiring artistic stuff she was creating with her whiskey advent. Honestly, her work blows my mind. It always reads sincerity, honesty, and passion. She has true talent.
All of these things together pushed me to do something I've never done before and keyword my creative life. For my personal work I decided on conceptual. I am pushing myself to do at least one creative shoot every month just for myself. Some things I want to try technically, some things I want to try creatively, and a few things just to push outside my comfort zone.
In January, I arranged a shoot with a local dancer. I've always wanted to photograph a dancer and I wanted all the cliche dancer shots, black and white, dramatic light, spotlighting, and flowing fabric. If you're even a passing student of photography, you'll recognize that there isn't anything spectacularly innovative in these photos but, they're mine. It's my shoot that I organized, set up, shot and just went to work. It's what I wanted and I could not be happier with just the simple act of creation.
Picking up my camera and doing something that was strictly for my own creation was so liberating. It felt a bit like blowing the dust off my soul and putting it back in the sunlight.
I have to say thank you to Kiana Bernal for modeling for me. She worked exceptionally hard and did everything I asked, sometimes over and over, with a fantastic attitude and a spectacular smile. I would also like to thank Eric and Ashley Walker for the space to shoot in as well as Dakota White and Camryn Wilson for assisting me during the shoot.